Over eight appearances in July, Brad Boxberger pitched at an elite level (no runs and one hit over eight innings with three walks, 13 Ks, and five saves). He pushed his ERA (2.89) back under 3.00 while converting 24 of 28 saves on the year. Archie Bradley delivered a disaster outing on July 20th (six runs, six baserunners, and one home run over two-thirds of an inning). Yoshihisa Hirano lost his way over his last six games (six runs, 12 baserunners, and two HRs over 5.2 innings with five Ks).
A.J. Minter has a long window to prove his worth in the ninth after Aroldis Vizcaino landed back on the DL with a bum right shoulder. Minter has a 2.41 ERA and 0.64 WHIP over his last 18.2 innings with two walks, 22 Ks, and three saves, which includes one lousy outing (three runs and three baserunners over one-third of an inning). A.J. has the talent to take the closing job and run with it. Dan Winkler struggled in two of his last three outings (two runs, three hits, and two home runs over three innings with two Ks). Shane Carle threw the ball well over his last five games (one run and three hits over 7.1 innings with five Ks).
With the Orioles trading Zach Britton to the Yankees, Brad Brach gets another shot at saves. His arm hasn’t been closer-worthy in July (eight runs and 15 baserunners over 6.2 innings with five Ks, one win, and one save). On the year, Brad has two blown saves in 13 opportunities. 2018 hasn’t been good for Mychal Givens, but he does have the stuff to close with better command. Over his last eight games, Givens allowed three runs and six hits over 7.2 innings with no walks and eight Ks. Mychal may emerge as the closer in Baltimore if he can avoid his disaster outings shown over the first three months of the year. Mike Wright has a 1.59 ERA over his last 17 innings with two walks and 15 Ks.
Boston Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel saw his 12.2 inning shutout streak end in his last outing on July 23rd when he allowed one run and two hits over one inning. Kimbrel is 32-for-34 in save conversions with strength in his ERA (1.90), WHIP (0.91), and Ks (63). Joe Kelly has been brutal over his last 14 games (11.32 ERA and 2.32 WHIP), which is an area of the game Boston must correct if they want to win a World Series. Matt Barnes pitched extremely well over his last 12.1 innings (one run, six hits, and 24 Ks).
A second trip to the DL for Brandon Morrow can’t be a good thing long term. He’s battling a biceps issue after missing ten days in June with a back issue. Morrow has two failed saves in 22 chances with an excellent ERA (1.47). Steve Cishek has three saves on the year, but he didn’t pitch well in his last two games (two runs and six baserunners over 1.1 innings with one K). Carl Edwards has a 3.86 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over his first 4.2 innings with eight Ks since returning from the DL. Pedro Strop is in the mix for saves as well despite struggles in two of his last three games (two runs and six baserunners over 2.2 innings with two Ks). I like Edwards the best long-term if Morrow doesn’t make it back to the field.
Chicago White Sox
Since May 21st, Joakim Soria has a 0.74 ERA over 24.1 innings with 32 Ks and 12 saves. His success should lead to interest in the MLB trade market, but Soria may lose his opportunity to pitch in the 9th. On the year, Joakim is 16-for-19 in save conversions. Luis Avilan has a 4.05 ERA over his last 6.2 innings with no walks and nine Ks. Xavier Cedeno has been an asset in the White Sox bullpen since being recalled from the minors in June. Over this span, Cedeno has 1.35 ERA over 13.1 innings with eight walks and 16 Ks.
Raisel Iglesias pitched well over his last 7.1 innings (no runs, three hits, and five Ks) while converting all three saves chances. Iglesias has three blown saves in 22 tries with an improving ERA (2.20) and WHIP (0.98). Jared Hughes posted a 2.89 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in July over 9.1 innings with ten Ks. David Hernandez improved his scoreless run to 5.2 innings with no walks and three Ks.
The Indians made a much-needed move over the last week when they acquired Brad Hand to improve the depth in their bullpen. Hand struggled over his last 11 innings (nine runs and 17 baserunners with one walk and 14 Ks) leading to three blown saves in six chances. Brad is 24-for-29 in save opportunities. Cody Allen will remain the top closer even with a poor run over his last six games (nine runs, 13 baserunners, and three home runs over five innings). Allen has two failed saves in 22 chances with risk in his ERA (4.83). Andrew Miller made three appearances in the minors over the last week (one over three innings with no walks and four Ks), but he struggled on Tuesday night (four runs over one-third of an innings).
Over his last 19 games, Wade Davis has a 7.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over 18 innings with 20 Ks while converting ten of 12 saves. Overall, Davis has four blown saves in 32 tries with a fading ERA (4.61). Adam Ottavino pitched at a high level over his last nine innings (no runs, three walks, and 12 Ks) to put himself in position to earn saves if Davis lands on the DL. Scott Oberg allowed two runs over his last 18 innings with three walks and 13 Ks leading to five wins.
In his four games after returning from the DL, Shane Greene gave up one run over four innings with no walks, three Ks, and one save. Greene has been successful in 20 of his 23 save chances. Joe Jimenez threw the ball well over his last five innings (no runs, two hits, no walks, and eight Ks). Alex Wilson has a 1.00 ERA over his last nine innings with four Ks.
The Astros saw enough of Ken Giles after his last blow up in the majors on July 10th (three runs and three hits without recording an out) to ship him back to the minors. Over five games at AAA, Giles allowed one run over four innings with one walk and seven Ks. Hector Rondon remains the top option for saves in Houston. Over his last six games, Rondon has a win, five saves, and one blown save with a 1.23 ERA over 7.1 innings with 12 Ks. Since taking over the ninth inning, Hector has one blown save in ten chances. Chris Devenski killed Fantasy owners over his last six games (eight runs, 12 baserunners, and three home runs over 4.2 innings).
Kansas City Royals
Over his last 12 games, Wily Peralta has 3.27 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 11 innings with six walks and 11 Ks while converting all five saves. He did deliver a disaster outing on July 20th (three runs and four baserunners over two-thirds of an inning. Kevin McCarthy struggled in two of his last five games (three runs, seven baserunners, and three home runs over 5.2 innings with three Ks). Tim Hill pitched poorly struggled over his last 13 games (8.59 ERA and 1.77 WHIP over 7.1 innings with five Ks).
Los Angeles Angels
Blake Parker pitched well over his last ten games (0.96 ERA over 9.1 innings with eight Ks and two saves in three chances), but his last save came on July 4th. Parker has three blown saves in 13 chances. Justin Anderson threw the ball well over his last 6.1 innings (no runs, one hit, and six Ks with one save). Cam Bedrosian struggled in two of his last three games (four runs and six baserunners over two innings with two Ks).
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenley Jansen has 14 saves in his last 18 games since June 15th while posting a 1.86 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 24 Ks over 19.1 innings. On the year, Jansen has been successful in 29 of his 32 save tries. Pedro Baez will come off the DL on Wednesday, July 25th after missing six weeks with a biceps issue. Daniel Hudson struggled in three of his last five games (four runs, four baserunners, and two home runs over 2.2 innings). Scott Alexander pitched his best ball of the year in July (no runs over 11 innings with two walks and 14 Ks).
Over nine appearances in July, Kyle Barraclough allowed eight runs, 20 baserunners, and three home runs over 7.2 innings with 11 Ks while blowing two of his four save chances. His job is at risk. Barraclough is 9-for-11 in save conversions since the beginning of June. Drew Steckenrider regressed as well over his last six games (four runs and ten baserunners over 5.1 innings). Brad Ziegler has been the Marlins’ best reliever since losing his closer job (0.68 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 20 Ks over 26.1 innings).
Corey Knebel struggled over his last 6.2 innings (four runs, 13 baserunners, and one home run) while converting three of his last four saves. Knebel has been successful in 12 of his 15 save tries with correction needed in his ERA (3.62). Josh Hader threw the ball great over his last three games (no runs, two hits, no walks, and nine Ks over four innings). Jeremy Jeffress gave up two hits in each of his last four appearances leading to a 4.91 ERA and 2.18 WHIP over 3.2 innings.
The fun ride of Fernando Rodney ended about ten games ago. Over his last 9.1 innings, Rodney allowed six runs and 16 baserunners with four saves in six opportunities. On the year, Fernando has 21 saves in 26 tries. Trevor Hildenberger pitched poorly over his last 3.1 innings (four runs and eight baserunners with one K). Zach Duke allowed five runs and seven baserunners over his last two innings.
New York Mets
After the trade of Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman earned the last save chance for the Mets. His arm doesn’t look closer-worthy over his last 13 games (13 runs, 25 baserunners, and four home runs over 15.1 innings with 12 Ks). It’s tough for me to believe in Gsellman in the 9th inning going forward. Seth Lugo lost his way after his move to starting rotation (4.62 ERA and 1.70 WHIP over his last 25.1 innings with 27 Ks). Lugo does have a 2.34 ERA as a reliever in 2018 over 50 innings with 48 Ks. Anthony Swarzak pitched poorly over his last five games as well (seven runs and ten baserunners over 2.2 innings). This bullpen is going to be a disaster going forward. Lugo looks like best swing at saves in this bullpen over the last two months of the year.
New York Yankees
Aroldis Chapman struggled in his last outing (three runs and four baserunners while failing to record an out), which may be a sign of his knee issue still being a concern. Over his last eight games, Chapman has a 7.11 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 6.1 innings with 11 Ks and four saves. On the year, Aroldis has one failed save in 27 opportunities with 68 Ks in 40 innings. David Robertson didn’t allow a run over his last six innings with two hits and eight Ks. Dellin Betances has 0.42 ERA over his last 21.1 innings with 13 walks and 36 Ks. Zach Britton extended his shutout streak to eight innings with four walks and six Ks.
Over his last five games, Blake Treinen has two blown saves in four chance while allowing two runs and eight baserunners over 5.1 innings with nine Ks. Treinen is 25-for-29 in save conversions with an elite ERA (1.06) and WHIP (0.98). Jeurys Familia threw the ball well in July (no runs over 11 innings with one walk and nine Ks) with three wins and three saves. He’ll take over the 8th inning for the A’s while adding 9th inning insurance. Lou Trivino saw his 14-inning scoreless run end on July 22nd when he allowed one run and two hits over one-third of an inning.
Seranthony Dominguez only has one save over the last three weeks. Over a nine-game stretch, Dominguez tossed 10.1 shutout innings with three hits, two walks, 12 Ks, and five save. Seranthony did struggle in his last game (two runs and four baserunners over one-third of an inning). He has one failed save in ten chances. Victor Arano allowed one run over his last six innings with four walks and seven Ks. His last save came on July 9th. Pat Neshek didn’t allow a run over eight innings in July with six Ks.
Since June 15th, Felipe Vazquez pitched 15.2 shutout innings with two walks, 29 Ks, and 11 saves. His ERA (2.98) is now in a favorable area. Vazquez has been successful in 23 of his 27 save conversions. Kyle Crick improved his shutout run to 15.1 innings with nine hits, three walks, and 18 Ks. His growth in command gives him a chance of pitching in the 9th inning in the future. Edgar Santana threw the ball well in July (one run over 10.2 innings with one walk and 13 Ks), which is another reason for the recent push by the Pirates.
San Diego Padres
Kirby Yates gains the 9th inning role in San Diego with Brad Hand shipped to the Indians. Over his last 18.2 innings, Yates posted a 1.45 ERA and 0.75 WHIP with 24 Ks and three saves. Craig Stammen did struggle at times in July (four runs and 17 baserunners over 10.2 innings with 12 Ks). Matt Strahm didn’t allow a run over his last 8.1 innings with three walks and seven Ks.
San Francisco Giants
Over his last three games, Will Smith allowed two runs and seven baserunners over 2.2 innings with no walks, four Ks, and one save. He’s converted all four save chances since taking over the 9th inning role for the Giants. Mark Melancon has a 2.25 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over his last 12 innings with seven Ks. Tony Watson struggled in three of his last five outings (three runs and eight baserunners over 3.1 innings with four Ks).
Edwin Diaz extended his shutout streak to 11 innings with four hits, one walk, 18 Ks, and ten saves. Diaz is 37-for-40 in save tries with 82 Ks over 50 innings. Alex Colome tossed 8.2 shutout innings over his last nine games with seven hits and ten Ks. Over his last ten games, James Pazos posted a 2.53 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with five Ks.
St. Louis Cardinals
Over the last four games, Bud Norris blew two of three saves while allowing three runs and ten baserunners over 3.1 innings with three Ks. Norris has four failed saves in 22 chances with some fade in his ERA (3.29). Jordan Hicks threw 3.2 shutout innings after the All-Star break with two Ks, which came after four straight poor games (seven runs and ten baserunners over 3.1 innings with four Ks). Luke Gregerson tossed 3.1 shutout inning with three Ks since returning from the DL.
Tampa Bay Rays
Sergio Romo remains the top option for saves in Tampa. He pitched eight shutout innings over his last eight games with six hits, two walks, and nine Ks while converting three of five saves. Over his 19 games, Sergio converted ten of his 13 save tries. Diego Castillo lost his way over his last three games (six runs and eight baserunners over 1.1 innings) with his failure tied to regression in his command (six walks). Jose Alvarado improved his scoreless streak to eight innings with five hits, five walks, seven Ks, and three Ks.
Keone Kela blew his first save in 24 chances in his last game on July 24th when he allowed one run, two hits, and one home run over 1.2 innings with two Ks. Over his last 12.1 innings, Kela has a 1.46 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 14 Ks and nine saves. Jake Diekman struggled over his last 2.1 innings (three runs and three walks). Jose Leclerc should slip into the closer role in Texas if Keone is traded over the next week. Leclerc hasn’t allowed a run over his last 10.2 innings with 18 Ks.
Toronto Blue Jays
Roberto Osuna has four shutout innings under his belt in the minors with three Ks as he works his way back to the majors in August. Since returning from the DL, Ryan Tepera pitched 2.1 shutout innings with no hits, four Ks, and one save. He has a 2.55 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 17.2 innings with 21 Ks and seven saves in nine tries as a closing option. Seung Hwan Oh pitched at an elite level over his last 7.2 innings (no runs, three hits, no walks, and eight Ks). Tyler Clippard blew up in two of his last three games (four runs, five hits, and two home runs over 2.2 innings with three Ks) leading to two blown saves in three chances.
The Nationals will be without Sean Doolittle for an extended period, which gives Kelvin Herrera the 9th inning job. Herrera tossed 3.2 shutout innings over his last three games with no walks, two Ks, and one save. On the year, Herrera is 15-for-17 in save conversions with strength in his ERA (1.85). Ryan Madson didn’t allow a run over his last 4.1 innings with one K. Brandon Kintzler gave up two runs and seven hits over his last 9.1 innings with no walks and six Ks.